The story of ACE Prime has been well documented on Cigar Coop over the past two years. The company made one of the most impressive debuts for a new company a couple of years ago. At the time a lot attention was focused round the MXS series which had sports celebrity releases with NBA Stars Dominique Wilkens and Tiago Splitter. In addition to the MXS releases, ACE Prime launched several other brands – including Pichardo and Luciano (named for the principal owners, Don Eradio Pichardo and Luciano Meirelles). Today we turn our attention to one of the blends under Pichardo Familiar line, the Pichardo Familiar San Andres. This is the cigar we take a closer look at in the Toro size.
2020 was an important year. One of the key strategies ACE Prime had was the strategic partnership it formed with Crowned Heads. The Crowned Heads-ACE Prime Strategic Partnership includes several components. Under the alliance, ACE Prime Cigars will now exclusively be distributed by Crowned Heads Cigars. The two companies had already been working together as ACE Prime’s Tabacalera Pichardo is handling production for the Crowned Heads Juarez line, and more recently, Crowned Heads’ new Mil Días line will come from that factory. This alliance has expanded ACE Prime’s reach by making it able to tap into Crowned Heads’ sales force.
In addition to the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres, there is also a Habano and Connecticut offering under the Pichardo Reserva Familiar line.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the San Andres wrapper, the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres features all-Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. Like all ACE Prime cigars, production is handled at Tabacalera Pichardo in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Fillers: Nicaraguan (Estelí, Jalapa, and Ometepe)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Pichardo
The Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres is currently offered in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. The cigars are presented in 15-count boxes.
The San Andres wrapper of the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro had a milk chocolate color to it. There wasn’t much oil on the surface. There were some visible veins as well as some minimally visible wrapper seams.
The Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres has two bands. The primary band is white with gold trim. On the center of the band is a gold shield with a dark-colored P on it. Below the shield is the text “PICHARDO” in gold font. To the left is the text “NICARAGUA” in black font while to the right is the text “ESTELI” – also in white font. The far right of the band has the text “LIGA PRIVADA” in black font in landscape mode. The remainder of the band has various gold design elements on it.
The secondary band surrounds the footer. It is gold with blue trim. On the gold background is the text “RESERVA FAMILIAR” in blue font.
Prior to lighting out the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw was pretty straight-forward, delivering notes of cocoa and earth as well as a subtle fruit sweetness. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro kicked off with notes of cocoa, earth, cedar, floral, and cayenne pepper. Early on the cocoa notes moved into the forefront while the other notes settled in the background. The floral notes were replaced by a walnut note early on. Toward the end of the second note, the cocoa notes started to diminish and a slight fruit sweetness emerged in the background with the earth, cedar, pepper, and walnut notes. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced a layer of black pepper and wood.
Once into the second third of the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro, the cocoa notes fell into the background with the earth notes taking over as the main note. In the background, the cocoa and fruit notes were the most prominent flavors with the cedar, pepper, and walnut rounding things out. Toward the latter part of the second third, the fruit, pepper, and walnut notes dissipated. There was a slight increase of the pepper and cedar notes.
By the last third, the cedar notes crept into the forefront with the earth. There still were some notes of pepper present as well. As the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro came to a close, the resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Overall the burn of the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro had a straight burn path. There was some curvature on the burn line. The cigar did require touch-ups along the way to maintain the burn. The resulting ash was on the firm side. This was an ash that had a salt and pepper color to it. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
In terms of the draw, the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro was on the open side. It wasn’t a loose draw, but as I have said in many assessments I do prefer that slight amount of resistance on a draw.
Strength and Body
The Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro is a cigar that delivered a medium strength, medium-bodied experience from start to finish. There was a nominal increase in strength and body along the way, but in the end, the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro didn’t cross out of the medium range for both attributes.
In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overpowering the others.
The experience of the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro can be summed into two parts. The first half was quite impressive. There was a nice amount of complexity and the flavors were enjoyable. When the Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres Toro moved into the second half, the flavors became less impressive, there was less complexity, and the cigar lacked some of the wow factor I was getting early on. I’m very intrigued to see how this blend would perform in a cigar shorter in length such as a corona or robusto. In the end, the plusses still outweighed the minuses enough for me to recommend this cigar to any cigar enthusiast who appreciates a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. As for myself, I can see myself going back to buying this cigar and smoking it again.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Cedar, Fruit, Floral, Pepper, Walnut
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop